Of Kith and Kin at Bush Theatre
Of Kith and Kin, the exceptional new play by Chris Thompson, begins with a married couple, Daniel and Oliver (James Lance and Joshua Silver), enjoying the baby shower they’re throwing for their best friend and surrogate Priya (played by the charming Chetna Pandya). However, when Daniel’s troublesome mother turns up out of the blue, all of the many problems in paradise are revealed. Serving up delicious, heart-wrenching, nail-biting drama without ever becoming crass, Of Kith and Kin is simply marvellous.
Cleverly, the piece doesn’t jump right into the drama. It first takes the time to introduce the audience to the characters and make us fall in love with them. At the same time, nearly every line adds value to the show. Almost nothing is extraneous; everything either moves the plot forward, adds to the backstory, or further builds characterisation.
Silver’s and Lance’s performances are second to none. At times, one even forgets that one is watching a play, and is not simply a voyeur peeping through a window into the troubled, compelling lives of the lovely couple next door.
The set is very well designed, adding to the narrative without taking any attention away from the plot and the performances. The transition from the first scene to the second is particularly impressive. While the courtroom is set up, a medical curtain is drawn, which serves the dual purpose of representing the birth of the child, and allowing for the judges’ platform to be set up behind it, ready for the reveal as the scene begins.
This all combines to result in a masterfully crafted piece of theatre. One second audiences will laugh, the next they’ll be brought to tears, as the hard question at the heart of the play becomes clear: Is love alone really enough?
Photo: Helen Murray
Of Kith and Kin is at Bush Theatre from 18th October until 25th November 2017. For further information or to book visit the Bush Theatre website here.